Randy Duncan, Jr.

Hearst Randolph “Randy” Duncan, Jr., passed away on September 27, 2016 at age 79 after a nearly five year long battle with brain cancer. Randy was born in Osage, IA, lived in Mason City, IA and grew up in Des Moines, IA. Randy graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1955, the University of Iowa in 1959 and Drake University Law School in 1963. He was a lifelong learner who read extensively with a particular interest in history and politics.

Randy pursued athletics in high school and college, gaining first team all-state honors at quarterback in football and point guard in basketball. He was a member of Roosevelt’s state champion football team and runner-up champion basketball team in 1954. At the University of Iowa he played quarterback on football teams that won two Rose Bowls and a share of the national championship in 1958. After his senior year, Randy was named Iowa’s most valuable player by his team mates and the Big Ten’s most valuable player by the Chicago Tribune and the Cleveland Touchdown Club. In addition, he was a consensus first team All-American, runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, and named the Walter Camp Back of the Year. The Green Bay Packers of the National Football League selected him with the first overall pick in the 1959 draft, but he chose to play two years for the British Columbia Lions in the Canadian Football League. After Canada, Randy played one year for the Dallas Texans (now the Kansas City Chiefs) in the American Football League. Randy is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, the University of Iowa Sports Hall of Fame, the Des Moines Register Sports Hall of Fame and the Theodore Roosevelt High School Hall of Fame.

Randy practiced law for over 40 years and was more proud of being a lawyer than an athlete. He was highly regarded as a practitioner, selected by his peers as a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers. Always interested in promoting best practices by attorneys, Randy was a charter member of the C. Edwin Moore Chapter of the American Inns of Court, where he mentored young attorneys and promoted civility and decorum in the practice of law. Additionally, he was a member of the American Bar Association, the American Board of Trial Advocates, the Iowa Defense Counsel Association, and the National Association of Railroad Counsel.

Randy was a generous contributor to the Greater Des Moines area and the State of Iowa spending thousands of hours working for the community. Randy was particularly interested in the betterment and well being of at-risk youth, serving several years as President of the Board for Youth Homes of Mid America. He also served on the board of the Des Moines YMCA, raising thousands for their Partner with Youth program and was a member of the Des Moines YMCA Camp Board. Additionally, an avid outdoorsman and conservationist, Randy served as a Iowa Department of Natural Resources commissioner and was a longtime member of Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever.

Randy was devoted to the University of Iowa, as an athlete, and a member of the Letterman’s Club and the National I-Club. His greatest love besides his family was Hawkeye football and he was a season ticket holder for over 50 years. He also gave generously to the University of Iowa Hospitals and other Iowa programs.

All in all, Randy was an incomparably modest and humble person with a wonderful sense of humor. Randy always credited his team mates and coaches for his post-season awards, often saying he was “in the right place at the right time”. He was known as a quiet leader who enhanced the bonds of team work and camaraderie with a healthy dose of fun and frivolity. Perhaps his greatest talent was an ability to treat everyone he met with dignity and respect. Randy made hundreds of friends over the course of his life. He was proud to be an Iowan and he loved the state of Iowa and his hometown, Des Moines. He was also a strong family man who was devoted to Paula, his wife of more than 56 years, and his sons and grandchildren. Besides Hawkeye football games, Randy loved summers at Okoboji, duck blinds in the fall and always having a dog by his side.